[Summary: A personal learning reflection on digital reporting from events – enable people to report, don’t report on their behalf…]
I’ve facilitated young people as ‘roving reporter‘ and ‘digital journalists’, or even, in the terminology David Wilcox is developing, ‘social reporters‘, at events before – and I’ve acted directly as the digital reporter at a few events in the past.
However, trying to blog and digitally report from the annual conference of the Association of Principal Youth and Community Officers on Monday I found it surprisingly challenging to tap into the buzz of the event and build up a coherent blog record of what was going on. That’s not to say we haven’t managed to provide a good foundation for online discussion and networking between APYCO members in the future – but it did get me reflecting on the difference between being the reporter and facilitating the reporting process.
Supporting young people to be the digital reporters at events about young people has always made sense. Given the skills to operate video cameras and update the blog – young people are then able to go out into a conference or event and use their insights into the issues that affect them to ask the right questions. Holding the camera or the Dictaphone, and being in control of the blog, alters the usual balance of power between young people and adults in the conference setting – and generally produces great results.
So why didn’t I work with APYCO to equip a number of the youth service managers there to be the social reporters – to go out an interview their colleagues and to talk about the issues that affect them? Time & resources perhaps. And also not having yet had the experience of digital reporting from a managers event to reflect on. But I’ll certainly make sure I take the enabling others to report approach in the future rather than taking on the reporting role directly.
John Holmes – who has been researching the impact of the risk discourse about young people’s use of the web for a PhD in Leeds. His presentation on the true facts on online risk was well recieved at Saturday’s event.
Given it's Open Space flavour the Digital Media Literacy Summit on Thursday (8th Nov) at the Channel 4 building in London didn't exactly come up with a set of clear action points for building digital media literacy, but it did offer some key insights that can help us on the way.
That said, if the event was a Summit, then participants had climbed to it from many different directions, and I suspect in fact all we have done so far is to move towards a basecamp where we need to consolidate, take stock, and then climp the real peak.
Building the basecamp
I was tasked with capturing interviews with the key speakers at the event, and young reporters from MediaSnackers were roaming the event capturing vox pop interviews with delegates. All the videos are available on the Policy Unplugged website, but below I've tried to weave together a summary of the voices I heard and the threads of conversation that ran throughout the day.
Links in Bold point to the short ( < 3 mins) video interviews with speakers from the Summit that I was tasked to capture on the day.
Paragraphs/sentences in italics show where I'm adding my own commentary or analysis to this summary rather than reflecting on the words of others.
The importance of access was a key concern. This arose both in terms of accessing the equipment to connect to the digital media world (as this interview with delegates by MediaSnackers Yaz and Clare shows), and in terms of being able to access social media and digital media spaces in schools and learning environments without being subject to locked-down internet access with blocks on anything interactive.
Controlling content access continued to crop up as a theme – without, it seemed, a clear argument during the day to analyse the role 'intelligent blocking' software has to play in building media literacy. (Without that argument, it might seem blocking just puts off the need for certain 'tough' forms of digital media literacy). It may be that a connected, but arguably separate, debate about internet safety was finding itself tangled up in the day's proceedings.
Whereas Ewan identifies schools as the key location for building digital media literacy, I spoke to Raemmel and Furqan in this vox-pop interview to highlight the role of Youth Work in supporting young people to develop the skills to safely navigate the social aspects of digital media in a world of social networks.
As the event moved from presentations to an open space format, it was clear that there were a lot of questions still to answer. Including:
Is digital media literacy really a new cannon? How much does the technology change things?
The accessiblity of the digital realm to those with learning disabilities was the subject of one open space group, and others tackled the question of digital media literacy for older people. The need for an inclusive digital media literacy agenda was certainly felt.
An ongoing conversation
As I said in opening, this wasn't a summit that lead to a shared conclusion. It launched conversations threads that now need to be tracked forward and woven together.
The inputs were not only in the open space discussions and in speeches from the platform, but were being shared through the blogosphere as live blogs and have been shared in blog posts since (this one amongst them). A quick blog search today turns up a great live-blogged sumamry from Ewan, addressing questions of age and access, and a reflective summary of the day from social media strategist Katie Lips. I'm sure there is more to come…
The Policy Unplugged site where these videos are hosted has been a little intermittent. You can find all of the videos on this youtube channel or using the player below